Morris Mays — county employee by day, inventor by night — excused himself to change into the costume he sometimes dons to sell the toothbrush-sterilization system he created.
Emerging in a sharply pressed black tuxedo, he asked: “Do you get it? I’m dressed to kill.”
If Mays’ germ-killing outfit is a bit unexpected, so is the source of funding that’s helped him launch his invention: package shipper DHL.
FedEx, for instance, has quietly become the nation’s second-largest producer of signs and banners, and it’s about to unveil a service aimed at helping entrepreneurs get into the direct-mail marketing industry.
DHL has launched a new small-business magazine and is funding micro-enterprise efforts such as the one for Mays.
And UPS has become one of the top providers of Small Business Administration-backed loans in the country.
There’s no secret why the companies are increasingly wooing mom-and-pop shops. Of the 23 million businesses in the country, a full 98 percent are small enterprises, according to the SBA. And 97 percent of all exporters are small ventures.
This year, Mays has sold about $5,000 worth of Sports Toothbrushes, which retail for between $5.99 and $9.99, he said.
“I couldn’t have done this on my own,” said the 52-year-old facility manager at the Miami-Dade County Action Agency. “This has been a big shot in the arm.”
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